Casino Fined $200,000 For Moving Black and Female Dealers For High Roller
Jun. 05, 1991
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was fined $200,000 on Wednesday for shuffling black and female dealers to accommodate the perceived preferences of a big- betting craps player.
''The violations are gravely serious,'' Casino Control Commissioner Valerie Armstrong said in a written decision. ''Racial and sexual discrimination in the workplace is an insidious evil that is contrary to the express public policies of the state in general and the casino industry in particular.''
Armstrong, who missed Wednesday's hearing because of the death of her father, wrote her decision on the basis of earlier hearings. She recommended a $100,000 fine.
But the other commission members voted 3-1 to increase the fine to $200,000 for the casino's behavior concerning Robert LiButti.
LiButti, a Secaucus consultant to racehorse investors, lost $12 million in the casinos over a six-year period. He was charged with insulting black and female dealers with racial slurs.
The casino was charged with accomodating LiButti switching black and female dealers from table to table to accommodate the high roller's perceived preferences for white male dealers.
Commission Chairman Steve Perskie said the fine may send a message how far casinos can go to accommodate gamblers, including high rollers.
''Mr. LiButti's conduct has repeatedly and dramatically affected the casino operation,'' Perskie said. ''There are, or ought to be, certain things out of the reach of Mr. LiButti's money.''
The fine came despite a ruling last year by Administrative Law Judge Lillard Law that the state Division of Gaming Enforcement failed to prove any allegations of discrimination.
Trump Plaza attorney Brian Spector cited Law's finding as argued before the commission.
''There is no credible evidence that any of the individuals in the complaint were moved for race or sex,'' Spector said. ''Trump Plaza is being fined for the aura of discrimination.''
The division charged that LiButti's alleged tirades against black and female dealers prompted the casino to discriminate between 61 and 67 times for two years ending in May 1988.
The division had sought fines of between $10,000 and $15,000 for each violation, which would have meant a fine between $610,000 and $1 million.
Employees testified that the casino's policy changed in the summer of 1988, and it began requiring that black dealers replace black dealers and female dealers replace female dealers who were moved because of objections from LiButti.
The employees said that policy followed newspaper stories about a similar complaint filed against Caesars Hotel Casino, which was eventually fined $250,000 for its actions with LiButti. Trump Plaza said it wanted to be sensitive to its black and female dealers.
Testimony indicated Libutti threw fits when losing, flinging dice and chips as well as breaking the stick used to gather the dice. The division complaint also listed several epithets LiButti allegedly made that refer to blacks, Jews, Orientals and women.
LiButti has admitted insulting workers with racist and sexist slurs, but denied he was prejudiced or demanded only white male dealers on his table.
He has been temporarily banned from the casinos pending a hearing on the slurs and on allegations he has ties to organized crime.
Perskie initially had asked that the gaming division file a complaint seeking exclusion based just upon LiButti's racist and sexist statements. Such a move would expand the commission's power to exclude patrons based upon criminal convictions, casino cheating, or organized crime ties.
LiButti has denied links to organized crime. He said he was only ''puffing'' when he mentioned reputed New York mobster John Gotti's name four times in conversations with Trump executives and threatened problems for the Trump Organization.